THE LAST RESORT
Inclusive is the new exclusive, says Ben Pendole, founder of the travel website AHotelLife.com. He rounds up eight of the most interesting game-changers working in the hospitality industry today for us.
Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch are better-known as Roman and Williams—names taken from their grandparents—and have in recent years been shaping, quite literally, the way a lot of New York and Miami influencers eat, sleep, and drink. They are probably the most sought- after and talented designers of our time. Their bold renovation of Philippe Starck’s original design of the Royalton was a much-needed change to a tired and dated “classic.” Then came the Standard, High Line; the Ace; the Dutch (in my opinion, Andrew Carmellini’s finest restaurant to date); and the Freehand, a hostel on the border of Miami’s South Beach with the best cocktail bar in town, the Broken Shaker. They’re currently working with Alan Faena on his incredible Faena Universe project in Miami and are soon to finish a luxury hotel project on New York’s 57th Street.
Tom Michelberger had a dream. The Michelberger Hotel in Berlin oozes inclusivity. The rooms range from the shareable with six beds in a room to a glorious suite for one. They stage their own music festival in the courtyard, they’ve partnered with a local distillery to create a Michelberger-branded schnapps, they tour their bus around Germany to various music festivals, and, beyond spreading the good word about the Michelberger, they have an all-night bar called the Fountain of Youth, which is now also a brand of coconut water. Dear Tom, I would like you to keep dreaming, because it’s brilliant!
Nick Jones has been at the forefront of the now for many years, globally expanding the Soho House group. He has been hailed as a pioneering cultural and social engineer, famed for his careful curation of crowds, events, and escapes. There have been naysayers at times, but since the opening of the Miami Beach House, Little House in Mayfair, and Toronto’s Soho House, few can ignore the mindful programming that has allowed the once-exclusive member’s clubs to leap into laymen’s land. The Pizza East chain in East London and the Chicken Shop in Kentish Town are about as accessible and inclusive as one could wish, offering up gourmet pizza and free-range chicken at very reasonable prices.
Arnaud Frisch and Antoine Canton are the creative masterminds behind Paris’s impressive, often-cerebral, and always-exciting Silencio, the member’s club designed by film director David Lynch that houses a screening room, a library, a gallery, a couple of cocktail bars, a dance floor, and of course a smoking forest. It also boasts some impressive programming, from culinary demonstrations and readings to film premières and club nights. Silencio is exclusive, but step upstairs to Social Club, and you’ve got the best electronic dance club outside of Berlin. Out on the Seine, the summer food and film programming at Wanderlust are visited by thousands of locals and tourists alike.
Moises Micha and Carlos Couturier have been at the upper echelon of Mexican cultural royalty for many years, having designed and developed numerous hotels with their company Grupo Habita. The Deseo in Playa del Carmen certainly got them noticed on the global lifestyle hotel map. The Condesa in Mexico City, the Boca Chica in Acupulco, the Endémico in the wine-growing region of Valle de Guadalupe, and the recently-opened Downtown (to name a few) have captured the attention of culture mavericks the world over. In 2011, they opened the Hotel Americano on the once-notorious nightclub strip of West 27th in New York. With the nightclubs now gone and galleries, theater, and luxury condos in their place, the Americano acts as the social beacon the neighborhood needs, offering incredible food, a welcoming bar, and a fabulous rooftop pool. The most impressive thing of all, though, is not their impending expansion in the United States, but the fact that they are humble, personable, and engaging, with everyone on staff mirroring the philosophy of their hotels.
Ben Pundole is the vice president of brand experience at Marriott’s EDITION hotels. He launched the website AHotelLife.com, a celebration of lifestyle hotels around the world and the people that make them tick, last February.